From education to employment

LSC Create Positive Charge in Retail and Hospitality for London

With a flurry of activity, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) London Central have created a positive charge in the world of hospitality and retail.

By funding a successful pilot training programme to support businesses in Central London within these sectors, the LSC have provided free vocationally relevant qualifications to improve business performance, which has concluded with outstanding results.

Retail and Hospitality have always been and will always be vital in London’s economy. Central Skills provide industry support and strive to address training issues within these sectors, which includes high turnover. The support of these sectors will become even more momentous in the forthcoming 2012 Olympics.

Flexible Courses

The Central Skills programme has helped over 650 learners from 163 organisations achieve qualifications. Tony Nelson, Director of Skills and Workforce Development, LSC London Central, explained how Central Skills is about investing in people to get a return. He said: “Courses are delivered flexibly, creating an excellent learning environment. Qualified employees lead to satisfied customers and repeat business.”

One of the aims of the Central Skills programme was to offer the programme to local commercial centres in hard to reach areas- outside the premier retail and hospitality locations. Distriandina, a Latin-American cooperative, serving the local community in Elephant and Castle is an example of one of these businesses.

It comprises of a food retailer and a cafe, a video hire shop and provides aesthetic services for customers such as manicures and pedicures. Mary Rodriguez, an employee at Distriandina, said of the project: “Its a very nice experience. I feel more confident and I don”t feel pressured because I”m learning at my job.”

A Competitive Market Place

An example of a class that took place at Distriandina is English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) for learners who are also undertaking a City and Guilds Customer Service NVQ Level 2. The customer services teacher addressed the fact that in order for some of the learners to complete their qualification they would firstly need support with their English language. Therefore the action plan taken up was to offer ESOL in conjunction with the Customer Services NVQ for two hours each week.

With the pilot training programme drawing to a close, its success has been widely acknowledged with many excellent reports. The flexibility that is offered to employers has made the programme an attractive way to develop staff without their having to leave their work place. Learners have effectively gained new skills and qualifications, which enhance and develop the business they work for; which is very important for London’s competitive market place.

Maria Vitale

Keep in touch with the latest in ESOL news here at FE News!

Related Articles